7 Best Hammers in 2020

The best hammer you can buy today is the Best Choice Stubby Claw Hammer. While it’s a miniature hammer, we like that it has a full comfort grip with an eight-ounce head weight. Plus, the head features a magnetic nail starter that makes working with one hand significantly easier.

To select the best hammer, we looked at the following features: hammer type, handle, head weight, and the claw. We noted that while there are two main types of hammers, fiberglass handles are the best choice for the average user because of their enhanced durability and shock-reduction features. But we also prioritized a range of head weights to suit a variety of user types. And depending on the hammer style we know that the claw design can vary slightly from curved to a straighter line. Keep reading to learn about the rest of our top picks.

Top 7 Best Hammer

 #1  Best Choice Stubby Claw Hammer

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: A lightweight travel-friendly hammer with an ergonomic handle and smart head that’s designed for overhead and single-handed use, while coming in at a budget-friendly price tag.

Pros
  • Our best on a budget pick
  • Includes magnetic nail starter in head
  • Curved ergonomic anti-shock handle
Cons
  • Smaller weight not ideal for industrial projects

Not everyone needs a heavy-duty hammer that weighs 20 ounces. This is why we selected this hammer from Best Choice as our Top Pick. We also like that it pulls double duty as our Best on a Budget pick. The affordable price makes this a great option for the occasional DIYer who needs to have a hammer in their home but doesn’t need something quite as heavy as some of the larger available models.

We like that this eight-ounce hammer features a magnetic nail starter, making this a great option for overhead or single-handed uses. You’ll also like that the fiberglass handle is ergonomic, featuring an anti-shock design and a non-slip grip to improve comfort during sustained periods of use. The rust-resistant coating is also a great addition. This hammer will quickly be among your best tools.

 #2  Stanley 7 Ounce Fiberglass Hammer

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: A quality hammer from a trusted brand that features a full-length ergonomic handle with a fiberglass core makes this the best hammer for woodworking.

Pros
  • Best for beginners, thanks to a classic hammer design
  • Lightweight form factor
  • Durable fiberglass handle with anti-vibration
Cons
  • May be too lightweight for serious projects

Stanley is a trusted tools brand that deserves to be in our product roundup. If you prefer a lightweight hammer, but don’t like the shorter handles on some of our other lightweight choices, then this fiberglass hammer from Stanley is the perfect compromise. While it only weighs in at seven ounces — making it our lightest option, it still excels across a wide variety of tasks.

This hammer features a fiberglass handle with an ergonomic comfort grip. You’ll also like that this is a great lightweight option for professional use with an easy to find yellow hue. We also like the anti-vibration handle design which helps to reduce the risk of premature fatigue. And you’ll like that the head on this hammer features rim temper to minimize the risk of chipping and spalling. We think these features make this the best hammer for woodworking. If you like woodworking, you may also want to look at the best bench vise.

 #3  Irwin General Purpose Claw Hammer

Award: BEST FACE

WHY WE LIKE IT: A hammer with a smooth face, solid 16-ounce weight, and a standard length handle that makes this a versatile choice for home and professional use.

Pros
  • Ergonomic ProTouch handle
  • 16-ounce head weight makes this versatile
  • Hammer won’t leave marks on work surfaces
Cons
  • Hammerhead made from softer metal

No one wants to use a hammer that’s going to damage surfaces. So, we selected this option from Irwin because it specifically features a smooth hammer face that’s designed to keep surfaces intact. We like that this model features a full-length design and is one of the few heavier head weights in our guide.

You’ll appreciate the fiberglass handle that features an ergonomic design with a ProTouch grip that gives you more control while also minimizing fatigue by dampening vibrations. The head is crafted from forged steel for better durability and the 16-ounce weight gives you the ability to work on a wider range of projects. If you like this hammer, you might want the best hammer drill too.

 #4  Spifflyer 8oz Small Claw Hammer

Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: A travel-friendly classic hammer for more controlled striking that’s perfect for on-the-go projects, and offers a comfort grip to minimize fatigue.

Pros
  • Ideal for small, DIY projects around the home
  • Durable comfort grip handle to minimize fatigue
  • Steel alloy drop forged and heat-treated head
Cons
  • Only 8oz head weight, so not great for all projects

Portability is important for quite a few people — especially when it comes to their tools. This miniature eight-ounce claw hammer from Spifflyer is ideal for people that want more control with their striking for simple projects around the house. This is a compact and lightweight, 11 ounces, product, and you’ll appreciate the durable alloy steelhead and the complete comfort grip.

The ergonomic handle is completely covered in a comfort grip that’s soft and non-slip to improve your control as you strike. The total length of this hammer measures 6.2 inches long. And as is standard with a classic hammer, you’ll also get a rip claw. Because of the small size, this is also a great starter hammer for children to use on home DIY projects under adult supervision. Soon, they’ll have the tool skills to pick up your best wrench.

 #5  Dewalt 16oz Rip Claw Hammer

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: A sleek modern hammer with an oval face for improved accuracy, enhanced weight distribution and a nail-start system makes this the best hammer for vinyl siding.

Pros
  • Includes a nail-start system for one-handed work
  • Heavy-duty design with a straight claw
  • 16-ounce hammer head weight
Cons
  • Some may not prefer the modern hammer design

Dewalt is another brand that’s been trusted for decades and by countless professional and DIY users. If you prefer a heftier hammer, we recommend checking out this 16-ounce Rip Claw Hammer. This modern hammer features a sleek design that includes a wide rounded head with a magnetic nail start system which makes this the best hammer for vinyl siding. Nail start system, what? The head of the hammer has a recessed magnetic enclosure that allows you to hammer with one hand.

You’ll like that the strong design includes an ergonomic handle with a comfort grip. Plus, the evenly distributed weight means you’ll enjoy more controlled swings and make fewer errors while you use this hammer. You’ll also find that the straighter claw makes removing nails easier. This will come in handy if you make a mistake with your best nail gun.

 #6  Real Steel Ultra Framing Hammer with Milled Face

Award: BEST HEAVYWEIGHT DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: A modern hammer with a 21-ounce head weight and a textured rubber grip makes this the best framing hammer.

Pros
  • Includes a magnetic nail starter
  • Textured rubber grip to reduce shock
  • Full length handle for better balance and swing control
Cons
  • May be too heavy for home DIY projects

For serious projects or professional job sites, you need a heavy-duty hammer that can stand the test of time. This hammer from Real Steel is 21 ounces, making it the heaviest head weight in our guide. But we also like that this hammer comes with a magnetic nail starter so that you can easily work with one hand. This is why we think this is the best framing hammer.

We noted that this hammer also features a milled striking face for enhanced accuracy. And as is standard, this hammer also comes with a fiberglass handle that’s covered in textured rubber for improved grip and shock reduction. You’ll also appreciate that this hammerhead is forged from one piece of steel for improved durability.

 #7  AmazonBasics Fiberglass Handle Claw Hammer

Award: BEST FOR DIY PROJECTS

WHY WE LIKE IT: A simple lightweight fiberglass handle that’s perfect for general repairs around the home and with a curved claw for easier nail removal.

Pros
  • Lightweight with a full length handle
  • Curved claw head for improved control
  • Fiberglass handle with comfort grip for improved control
Cons
  • Weight may be too light for more serious projects

Many of the eight-ounce hammers in our guide are miniature in size. And while that’s ideal for first time users or people who don’t have a lot of storage space, not everyone wants a compact handle because it can minimize your swing. So we think if you prefer a classic hammer, but you want something lightweight, this alternative from AmazonBasics is a smart choice.

This eight-ounce hammer features a full-length handle with a classic hammer design. As is common, the handle is made from fiberglass and includes a comfort grip that’s designed to dampen vibration while minimizing fatigue from prolonged use. You’ll also appreciate the balanced weight that this hammer provides, making it perfect for projects around the house.

How We Decided

Hammers are an essential tool that everyone should have in their home whether they’re simply hanging a picture or tackling a more serious DIY home improvement project. To create our guide, we focused on the following key features — hammer type, handle, head weight, and the claw.

You’ll note that all of the hammers in our guide featured fiberglass handles. This is because fiberglass tends to last longer. Plus you’ll note that all of our selections feature a comfort grip handle that’s designed to dampen vibration and reduce premature fatigue.

In our guide, we have a mix of classic and modern hammers. For the occasional user or a beginner, a classic hammer is a great option. The majority of our hammer picks ar classic styles, with only our Best Quality and #6 picks being modern hammers. This is important because it also impacts the head design. Our modern hammer picks all feature a straighter claw while the classic hammers all have the traditional curved claw design.

You’ll also note that we feature a range of head weights from an ultra-lightweight seven-ounce hammer (Honorable Mention) to a 21-ounce hammer (#6). The remainder are split between eight ounces and 16 ounces. For lightweight projects around the home, the lower weight hammers are ideal while more serious projects should rely on the 16 or 21-ounce hammers.

Best Hammer Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Type
    Hammers come in two core configurations: classic and modern. A classic hammer will usually have a smooth face with an angled claw. In contrast, a modern hammer has a wider face with a nail starter, hatchet-style handle that’s designed to resist vibrations and a less angled claw.
  2. Handle
    The handle of your hammer can come in a range of materials. The most common hammer handle materials are wood, fiberglass, or steel. Most experts agree that a non-wood handle is best because they last longer and don’t have the risk of splintering as wood can do. Modern hammers have a narrower shape that can provide better balance and have an anti-vibration design to reduce fatigue.
  3. Head Weight
    Hammers come in a range of weights. But before you pick a hammer, think about how you plan on using it and find a compatible weight. In general, classic hammers are usually offered with head weights ranging from 16 to 20 ounces. 16 ounces is ideal for general DIY and home shop projects whereas a 20-ounce hammer is better for professional projects such as home renovations or demolitions.
  4. Claw
    A classic hammerhead features a flat face on one side and a rip claw on the other. Rip claws are great for prying up nails or screws and should be a core feature in any hammer you purchase. But many people prefer a straighter claw, which is usually found on modern hammers.

Hammer FAQs

What type of hammer should I buy?

Think about the projects that you plan to complete with your hammer as this will impact the head weight that you pick. For minor projects around the house, a lower head weight is ideal. But if you're planning on tackling a more intensive project like home repairs and remodeling, then opt for a hammer that's between 16 to 20 ounces. In general, hammers with fiberglass handles are more durable and are better at absorbing shock.

What is the best weight for a hammer?

Most hammers come in head weights ranging from 16 to 20 ounces. For small projects and DIY tasks, a 16-ounce weight is ideal. For more intensive work such as demo projects or home renovations, a 20-ounce weight is best.

Which hammer is the most versatile?

A traditional basic hammer with a head and a claw. A flat yet small head is ideal for targeting the force of your swings to drive nails and features a simple claw to help remove nails.

Why is it bad to hit two hammers together?

The short answer is that hitting two hammers together can potentially shatter the faces of each of the hammers. This is especially true if only the face of the head is properly hardened as opposed to the entire head.

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Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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